When life hands you disorganization

by Madeline Laughs
English: Sweaters. Español: Diferentes tipos d...

English: Sweaters. Español: Diferentes tipos de jersies (suéteres). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am an organized person. I make lists, keep a planner and label things. The closets and drawers in my home are set up for convenience and by categories.

I always have a back up for items I use all the time. For instance, for laundry detergent or any cleaning item I use on a constant basis, there is always a full unopened container ready and waiting when the other one runs out. This makes sense to me and items like this do not expire.

I am surrounded by disorganization.

My husband’s closet has become the bane of my existence. It’s an odd shape and awkward to keep tidy, but I manage. It would probably stay tidy if my husband never went into it.  

The top shelf has sweaters and long pants and blue jeans all folded neatly with the smooth side of the fold facing outward. Jeans are grouped together, khakis together and so on. The sweaters are all folded with the sleeves turned in and the chest of the sweater squared, just like you’d find them on a retail display table. Long sleeved shirts are hanging on the bottom rack along with suit jackets and dress pants because these are not items he wears regularly. The top rack is filled with short sleeved and casual shirts, a belt rack and one canvas shoe holder. As hangers are emptied I ask that they be moved to the front of the rack, or dropped down the laundry chute. There is a small shelf towards the back of the closet that holds sweat shirts and there’s room for a few pairs of shoes to be casually dropped on the floor. A small ladder aids in reaching the top shelf so that items can be sorted through easily without pulling everything down on your head while trying to find that one thing you might be looking for.

Sounds like nirvana, huh?

Give my husband one week in there and it looks like a tornado blew through it.

After spending many hours organizing and then reorganizing his closet, I decided I had done all I could do. I finally started leaving whatever finished laundry that was to go in his closet on the edge of the bed for him to put away in the closet as he pleased. One day I opened the closet door to see that instead of putting the pants on the top shelf and the sweatshirts on the bottom shelf, he had opened the step ladder and was putting all of the clean clothes on the top of it.

This put me over the edge of anal retentiveness and a phone call to him at work went a little something like this “DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY HOURS I HAVE SPENT ORGANIZING YOUR CLOSET?!” he responded very quietly “Um, no.” I continued “I HAVE ORGANIZED AND STRAIGHTENED AND ORGANIZED THAT CLOSET AND EVERY TIME I LOOK IN THERE IT’S A HUGE MESS AGAIN! I CAN’T EVEN PUT CLOTHES AWAY IN THERE BECAUSE THERE’S NO PLACE TO PUT THEM!” he calmly responded “Well, just leave it and I’ll put them away when I get home.” Obviously he was not going to feel guilty about his closet being a train wreck and this took all of the wind out of my argument.

So I have adopted his madness and now open the closet door and place the clean laundry on the top of the step ladder where he can easily find it.

I have organized his dresser several times too. I designated one drawer for underwear items and another for socks and swim trunks. The rest are for tshirts, which he has oodles of and wears everyday.

I fold his tshirts so they come out of the drawer with as few wrinkles as possible. They are folded just like you would find them on a retail shelf, with the arms folded inward and the shirt folded twice so the chest of the shirt is flat. They look nicer when he puts them on if they don’t have a crease running right down the middle.

This neat dresser stays that way unless he can’t find a particular shirt he wants to wear. Then it becomes a mass of colored fabric all balled up together so the drawer won’t even close anymore. Swim trunks get put in the underwear drawer and socks are separated and then shoved back in wherever there’s room left. It makes it difficult to put away any of the clean laundry and I usually spend an extra thirty minutes refolding everything just so I can put away one shirt.

After doing this again and again for three years I finally gave up. Now when there’s no room left for the shirts, I put the neatly folded ones on top of the dresser and just let him figure it out. These are the ones he wears first because they’re neatly folded so they end up getting washed over and over again until the laundry sits for a few weeks and he has worn all of them. Then he has to riffle through the wrinkled ones in the drawers to find one he might wear. Once that happens a few dozen times, there is once again room in the drawers for the neatly folded shirts and the process starts all over again.

When I take something out of a drawer to use it, I use it and then put it back in the drawer so I can find it again the next time. When my husband uses something he puts it down wherever he was and leaves it there. I’m guessing this is because he’ll remember where he left it in case he needs to use it again, but that’s never the case. He never remembers where he left it either.

This morning when he asked me where the iron was I immediately went to the hall closet where I keep the iron. It wasn’t there. I looked one other place I might have put it and it wasn’t there either. Meanwhile he’s waiting for me to find the iron and asking when was the last time I used it. I have no idea, but if I had been the last person to use the iron, it would have been in the hall closet.

Finally I hear him exclaim from the back of the house “Found it!” It was on the floor. Guess where…in his closet.

I installed a laundry chute upstairs and the clothes fall into a basket below in the laundry room downstairs. I love throwing things down this chute! We also have a hamper in our bedroom just for the convenience of not always running to the chute every time something requires a wash. When I come home from working out of town this hamper is always stuffed so full the lid won’t close and more clothes are precariously stacked on top of it like the leaning tower of Pisa.

“Why don’t you empty the hamper down the chute when it gets full?” He looks at the pile of clothes and points “Because there’s still room there to put more dirty stuff on top.” He’s using his I’m-being- logical voice. “But the hamper is full and this pile on top is just ugly now.” I put on my best I’m-logical-too facial expression and raise one eyebrow. He shrugs and goes back to what he was doing saying over his shoulder “But I know how much you love throwing stuff down the laundry chute, so I save it up for you.”

I am an organized person surrounded by disorganization, but the one thing I can always be assured of having is something that needs to be organized. It’s a system that works for me even though some days it does raise the hair on my neck. My husband has learned how to work this system too and in his own organized way he knows that his disorganization will satisfy my need to organize and thus harmony triumphs.

Things don’t always have to be lined up neatly in order for life together to be beautiful. The beauty starts when you can figure out where your straight lines and his circles come together. That’s the place where you two become one and then everything lines up perfectly.

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About Madeline Scribes

A writer with a sense of humor. If anyone can laugh at life, it's me.
This entry was posted in All kinds of Advice and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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